Tag Archive for: Indie Artists

Relationships Feature MEME


Imagine that you’re going out on a first date. This person is someone that you’re excited to get to know better but for some reason, you’re feeling excruciatingly nervous. You meet up with the date Relationships Nervousand the night is a disaster.


Maybe you were the date and the other person was nervous, which made you nervous.



Have you been there?


Why does that happen?


Answer: Nonverbal communication.


Relationships Cave Man


As a species, we have been communicating nonverbally for thousands of years before we developed language.





Therefore, we are far better at receiving and understanding nonverbal communication than verbal communication.


Arguably, the percentages are different depending on what you read, but the consensus points to the fact that when any message is received, the majority of the information transmitted was nonverbal.


Relationships Cat MEME

 How you say it and what your body does while you say it is far more important than what you say.


There is an art to the nonverbal performance aspects of an artist. What are you doing when you’re singing? How does your body language communicate to the audience when it’s time to clap or if they should wait out a pregnant pause?


See how important it is?


It’s the difference between a green artist and a pro in every situation imaginable.


Relationships Upset Man MEME



As humans, we pre-frame people prior to meeting them all the time. Our brains are designed to conserve energy thus; we won’t spend too much time studying before we naturally fill in the blanks on someone filtering the data through our own emotional experiences.





We all have vastly different emotional experiences.


Plain English: You’re always being judged.


Here’s another good point to remember, I’m generalizing but our first impressions typically don’t happen when we decide to make them.


Relationships Introduction MEMEAnother way to think about it is that a first impression is DIFFERENT than an introduction. Rarely do these two separate events happen simultaneously.


Why should you care?


Answer:  Because your job as an artist is to communicate. Your job as a marketer of your art is also to communicate.


Understanding exactly how messages are received is an invaluable exercise for your artistic creativity, live performances, marketability, team building skills, networking, etc.


Relationships Introvert MEME


Right now, some of you are cringing because you’re thinking, “But, I’m an introvert and I suck at relationships.”


I’ve got news for you. You don’t suck at relationships.


By the way, an introvert’s reaction to this idea is completely understandable, isn’t it? They don’t view themselves as the gregarious, huge-personality-type sales person who is a killer networker.


In fact, many introverts may be a bit envious of the extroverts who seem to effortlessly create relationships.


Relationships Big Personality



Some introverts may even view this lack of outward personality as a detriment to their artist career.




The fact is that introverts and extroverts all have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to creating and maintaining relationships. One is not necessarily better than the other.


What makes one PERSON better at creating relationships than another person is self-awareness.


Identifying your strengths and weaknesses is quite empowering.


Relationships Schmoozing




While extroverts are good at creating many relationships, they’re often not necessarily good relationships or deep relationships.





Statistically, introverts are better at creating more meaningful relationships.


Maybe you feel shy and weird about schmoozing or “working the room” after a show, but when introverts are ready to create and maintain relationships they think deeply, they observe people well.


When faced with the thought of hustling or schmoozing, many introverts think, “I’m too shy, I could never do this.”


False! You CAN do this; you just haven’t learned how.


Relationships Social Media

This information is HUGE for industry events, after show hustling, AND SOCIAL MEDIA!



Often, before you “meet” someone on social media they’ve already scoured your Instagram account. They’ve already created an opinion on you as an artist.


If you’re aware of this dynamic, you can attempt to control the outcome as much as possible.


Themed accounts are pleasurable to viewers. Many of my client’s accounts are themed, albeit some more than others.


Relationships John Kern



@JohnKernMusic is themed black & white. He looks so cool in black and white (he’s extremely marketable in color but there’s a retro vibe that transmits via b&w with John).




@patience.reich has an account that is themed with the many amazing facets of her personality and work efforts. Patience is a black, female jazz singer (working on a pop record), MD (physician of Internal Medicine), true humanitarian (closing her practice every year for weeks or months at a time to travel and give medical care to children in impoverished countries), a marathon runner, a devout Christian, oh, and she loves cats.


Relationships Patience Reich

Do you see how a visual or contextual “thread” of sorts is extremely helpful to creating fans on your social media accounts?



Images are extremely important here, especially on Instagram. All serious artists need professional pictures taken.


Relationships Orleans Album Cover

These photos need to be shot by a professional ARTIST PHOTOGRAPHER as opposed to your girlfriend’s, dogwalker’s, first cousin’s boyfriend who has a cool camera and knows how to focus the lens.






Get it?


Relationships Bad Band Photo

It’s all about the photographer’s eye, not the camera.





You must also heavily weigh the common creative tasks this photographer’s eye must complete on a day to day basis.


All too often I see artists whose images were shot by amazing wedding photographers and they look like that: wedding photos. Just because they’re a wedding photographer doesn’t mean they can’t shoot artists well (Alysse Gafkjen in Nashville is an incredibly talented exception to this rule) but usually, they’re thinking wedding and not selling the artist.


Relationships Band Band Photo 2

Spend the money. It’s going to be your first impression.



Guess what else the masses are going to formulate their first impression with an artist on.


Answer:  Engagement.


You’d be AMAZED at how many people will line up behind you as an artist simply because you took a little time to respond them and were smart enough to ask a question about THEM.


Hardly any artists do it.


I’m constantly pushing my artists to engage more with the people who take the time to say something about a killer post we put up.


Relationships Value ArtistAs an artist, if you want to build a real, solid, loyal following, you’re going to have to love them first.




You must be vulnerable first.


Artists who have multitudes of real online relationships are far more valuable than artists who don’t.


More valuable to the record labels, managers, booking agents, lawyers, PR companies, brand partners, etc.


Relationships Leverage MEMERelationships are how an artist creates LEVERAGE in the music business.



Y’all tell me you want managers, better bookings, a record deal, better players in your band, and more opportunities but you don’t work at the task that will deliver all these gifts.


It’s not going to be about your music at first, it’s going to be about you.


Once you forge a remarkable first impression and engage deepening the relationships, you’ll begin to grow a following.


Relationships ScaleThey’ll love you and begin to identify with your music.


A moderately talented artist with a loyal following is far more valuable and therefore will be far more successful than a hugely talented artist with no audience to perform to.


When was the last time you heard a song on the radio and thought, “My music is way better than that piece of crap”?


That artist on the radio knows something you don’t.


Or didn’t up until now.


Relationships I Want You To Win



I want you to win.













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Too many of you get hung up on the how you’re going to get your dreams accomplished.

How Hung 1

You should only be focused on the why right now.





How the-climb-600x315-download-now


Because if you’ve read my articles and listened to The C.L.I.M.B. Podcast you know that the “how” is going to change early and often.



That’s a promise.


That’s a fact.


So explain to me logically, how does makes sense to dwell on it?




YES, you have to think of the next logical step.


YES, you have to be smarter than the average bear.





Being smarter means you don’t dwell on the “how”, just focus on this:






Just do it.


Your ideas, best-laid plans, dreams, thoughts (and thoughts are things), hopes, songs, shows, recordings, and energy don’t mean a damn thing to the world without execution.



They just don’t matter.




For instance, thinking about driving to the store, while it’s an imperative part of the process, doesn’t mean squat without execution.


Until you actually get up off your couch, grab your keys, get in the car, insert the key and turn it, and then step on the gas, you aren’t driving, are you?



You’re thinking about driving.


Painfully simple analogy, but without execution, you simply won’t get to the store, will you?


Thinking about it isn’t enough.


Every day, my whole life, I’ve seen people who pride themselves on being “good researchers”.

How pay-me-meme-entitled



I feel that too many kids coming out of college today feel entitled to a well-paying job simply because they have an education.




I remember one of the Tai Lopez modules he was discussing his experiences working on a farm with (if my memory serves me correctly) a billionaire. This billionaire focused on farming and providing good, clean food to people.



Tai was explaining to the billionaire how he had this friend that was really smart, really educated, with a great personality, blah, blah, blah.


The billionaire’s response was, “Yeah, but is he worth a damn?”



Get it?


All that talent, all that knowledge, all that research, all that education, and all that personality doesn’t amount to a pile of crap if the person isn’t worth a damn.




Translation:  Can they execute?


Deeper translation:  Can they execute well?




how-thinking-isnt-enoughThat’s all that matters.


That’s LITERALLY all that matters!


Get shit done!







Every semester I get a booth at the Belmont Internship Fair at the Curb Event Center in Nashville.





Now we are interviewing tons of interns to decide who’s a good fit.


I’m trying to filter out who will be worth a damn.






I always ask what questions they have for me and this is the most popular question:


“How much experience are you looking for because I don’t know anything about this or that?”




My answer is that it’s your job to execute and be worth a damn, it’s my job to provide you with the knowledge and experience.


I pick interns and hire based on personality.




I want you to be worth a damn.


I don’t care about what you know or don’t know.




If you’re worth a damn, we’re going to make mistakes together.


That’s ok.


If you’re worth a damn, we’re going to figure it out because we execute and learn.





That’s faith.



Don’t suffer paralyzation-through-analyzation.





All the knowledge in the world, from the best books, the best mentors, the best institutions, isn’t going to manifest itself in the form of a perfect plan.


There’s no such thing.




You don’t go to Berkeley School of Music in Boston and learn how to play music, you learn about music.  Maybe you also learn about an instrument.


You can only learn HOW by practicing and playing with other musicians.




in other words, execution is the how.



You can’t read The Craft of Lyric Writing by Sheila Davis and write a hit song. You can only do that by writing songs and figuring out what works and what doesn’t work.




Every artist is different.


Therefore, every plan is different.






Knowledge is supposed to help you think and problem-solve.


Application of that knowledge helps you gain experience.


Experience helps you waste less time and execute better.




Experience gives you the “how”.





But the plan is always different and the artists who are worth a damn, execute, get knocked off their horse, and get back up again with a new plan.



A tweaked plan.


Momentum is key.


Any kind of momentum trumps the best plans.


You do.



That’s what you do.


You make mistakes.


That’s ok.




You learn.


This is called figuring it out.


But you always have to be moving.




There has to be constant progress.


how-excellenceFocus on the pursuit of excellence rather than perfection because perfection is unattainable.




Unattainable perfection easily becomes an excuse to wait.


Doing more research to become more perfect means you don’t have to execute right now.





Every plan for each of my artists is a living breathing thing and changes constantly.



We always start with social media. That takes time. Time to grow the accounts. Time to hone in on each artist’s tone. Time to theme the accounts.


They couldn’t break Wham! In the United States even though they were a huge sensation in Europe.


It took a maneuver where they booked a tour in China becoming the first western act to tour communist China to get the press they needed to get anyone to care about them in America.





That tour happened, we paid attention to the press, and Wham! Broke in the USA and then George Michael went on to even greater heights.


China wasn’t part of the initial plan.  I promise.




I regularly get emails from aspiring artists with amazing plans.


All of them seem to entail waiting in some form or another.


I don’t get it.


I don’t get how anyone can just…wait.


You have to have faith.





I’m on a plane back from Las Vegas right now…slightly intoxicated.


I saw Elton John at Caesar’s Palace.






So many songs.


I knew so MANY songs…ok, ALL of the songs.


They meant something to me and I didn’t even know it before seeing him perform.


I like Elton John but I wouldn’t say I was a freak about him.


How powerful is that?




We need music.


That will never change.





Music brings beauty, love, and joy into our lives.


Consumers aren’t buying music today because it’s being marketed to them incorrectly through their smartphones.





They will buy music again.


Once they’re made to feel that it’s worth it.



It’s your job to make them feel that it’s worth it.


That is going to require you constantly executing.



You’re going to fail a few times


You’ll figure it out.



Think of it like a puzzle.


Then you’ll start to create momentum.


Once you get a small portion of people you don’t know to love you, expand.




Make a living.how-truck-meme


Focus on the “why” and execute.


The how will come. I promise.













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“I’m not some great philosopher. This is simple shit. ONE AT BAT. THIS IS IT. YOU’RE GOING TO DIE. Like, I don’t understand…here’s what I don’t understand. I want to talk about complaining. I want to talk about complaining. If you are making your own bed you have to sleep in it and you need to shut your fucking mouth. You’re more than welcome…I’ve met hundreds of people who left their jobs, making good money when they had college debt 18% compounded interest because they need their mental health to be happy. They were willing to take a step back, and in a 7-year period, THEY WON! Because happiness drives everything. You collectively aren’t patient enough. Your lack of patience is killing you. Your need of things is killing you. I don’t need a fucking watch. I don’t need a fucking whip. I need to be happy. One fucking at bat.” – Gary  Vaynerchuk



You’re not taking enough responsibility for your happiness.



Which means you’re not taking enough responsibility for your artistry.



There’s nothing wrong with that unless you’re frustrated with your life.


If you’re reading this, you are blessed to be in a country where you are allowed to read this and fortunate to own a computer or a smartphone to read it with.



All you complaining 99 percenters, 50% of this planet, over 3.5 billion people live on less than $2 per day. If you’re at the bottom of the 99%, meaning you’re earning the least amount of all the 99%, you’re actually in the 1% (probably the people you love to hate) when compared to the rest of the world.


I say this because I want you to stop complaining right now and be grateful.





If your parents had sex 3 minutes later or 3 minutes prior, you wouldn’t be here.



So be grateful out of millions of sperm, YOU won the lottery and became a human.


That fact alone is simply ASTONISHING.


Be grateful that God gave you an artistic gift to share with the world.




Be grateful that your frustrated because you’re struggling to get paid for that gift rather than struggling to find food, or struggling to turn a pair of 2-liter soda bottles into a pair of shoes.


Wow, that’s a LOT of gratitude.



Now, you have all this time, what are you doing with it?


What exactly are you doing to take the next best step towards pursuing your happiness?



What Gary Vee was saying about your own bed is absolutely true.


Stop complaining because I promise you that your status amongst the professional artist community and the consumer’s awareness or lack of awareness of your art is a direct result of the time and attention you’ve put towards it.




I promise if you put the time in, I mean REALLY put the time in, you’ll win.




I promise that if you commit to being a student of the game, meaning that you stop complaining, passing blame, creating excuses, and start honestly asking questions and looking at ways to improve your situation, you’ll win.




Are you willing to take a step back? Really?


You’re afraid of losing your stuff, your lifestyle. I’m here to tell you everyone is and it isn’t so bad, in fact, it’s rather liberating.



If you aren’t willing, THAT’S OK because you’re a hobby artist or a hobby band, and there NOTHING wrong with that.


What IS WRONG is if you complain that you can’t “Get your deal”, or you can’t “get professional recordings”, or you can’t “find your audience”.  These are tasks that are tackled by professional artists, not hobby artists.


Many bands have done it.


We do it for artists every day here at Daredevil Production.


So when I hear complaints about how it’s because of this reason, or that reason an artist can’t find an audience, get paid, or make great recordings, it makes my hair stand up.





I’ll ask them, what EXACTLY do you think are the issues that are preventing you from tackling these challenges?



You see, to me, this is akin to complaining that you can’t breathe. Yet, there are 7 billion + people on this planet that are breathing.


Why can’t you?


Because you’re complaining and looking for excuses rather than taking any action whatsoever to solve the problem.








If you don’t seriously step up, which may mean stepping back momentarily, to follow your dreams, I promise THAT is the regret you’ll have on your death bed.


It won’t be a regret over something you did.



It’ll ALWAYS be a regret over something you DIDN’T do for whatever reason.




I can testify that money, your house, watches, cars, trips, restaurants, extra musical instruments, the latest recording gear, softball league, basketball league, racquetball league, Golf, your credit score, etc., are completely worthless.


They mean nothing.


You find that out after you lose them.


They don’t define you.


I’ll say that again so READ IT.


These are things that don’t define you.


Your happiness defines you.



That’s what other souls really see. They may be misguided enough at this point on their journey to respond to your money or what they feel security “looks” like, but your true happiness is really what they see.




Or don’t see.





People are going to remember you for the way you made them feel, not because you have a Rolex, a Ferrari, or a vintage ’59 Les Paul.


When you’re really happy because you’re doing what you were born to do, you can’t help but make other people happy.


You become the inspiration all artists aspire to be.


I made decent money in business. I have a talent for that.


I made a LOT of money in the financial industry.  Straight up, my monthly ad budget at one time (with my radio show on in 5 stations in 3 markets) was more than a lot of you, maybe most you, make in a year. 3 month’s ad budget would safely probably cover the lot of you.


Just the ad budget.



Poof, it all went away in 2008 and IT WAS A BLESSING.


A gift from God.


I lost my house, my wife, my savings, my business, my dignity (briefly), and for about a year, my direction.


The loss of direction was the scariest part. Never had that happen. Faith is all you have at that point, that’s what gets you through.



When I moved back to Nashville from Los Angeles, I had nothing. I literally went from requiring 2 trips in a 24-foot U-Haul truck to move into my new house in 2004 to 1 10-foot box truck to move out to Nashville.




I’m STILL getting rid of crap.



Lots of old energy.


I hocked all my prized guitars and amplifiers including a ’68 Gibson Country & Western acoustic guitar, and a 1st year Peavy EVH 5150 guitar head (ugh), a ’68 Marshall 4×12 cabinet with vintage 25 watt greenbacks, a killer 60’s re-issue Vox AC-30, and rare mid ‘80’s Sunburst Gibson ES-335 (these are just the sexiest items) to keep this company going in the beginning.


This is called taking a step back.



I believed in what I was doing.






I had months where I didn’t know how I was going to come up with the $80 I needed to renew my tag on my auto license.



I was thinking, “I’m too old for this shit.”




I worked Uber after hours for 18 months to pay the bills while the company grew. That would be Friday night from 6pm-3am. Saturday night from 6pm-3am. Then I’d crash for 2 hours and work the Sunday morning airport runs from 6am-12pm.






I was definitely growing Daredevil Production at a pretty nice trajectory percentage-wise but when you start at $0.00 it takes a while for those percentages to turn into an amount of money that can pay your bills.



I took the step back.






I promised myself that I would go HARD TO THE PAINT for 5 years and after 5 years if I looked back and felt it was a waste of time or I misjudged the target somehow (which was my mistake in the financial business) then I’d go sell insurance and make a million dollars.



I could pretty easily do that. I have that skill set.


Music was my passion, though.



Cracking the code to connecting artists and fans and then MONETIZING those fans without using radio, was and still is the sexiest challenge in the world to me.



We’ve done it. We’re ramping up the traffic volumes now.






Gary Vee was right in that opening quote when he mentioned the 7-year time frame.


This November 5th will mark my 5-year anniversary of being back in Nashville. To be fair it’s probably been a solid 3 years since I really started focusing on the marketing side of Daredevil Production.



The trajectory continues and if next year grows like this year, BOOM!


That 7-year mark no matter where you want to start the timeline will be a biggie.


I’m telling you this because there is no greater feeling than winning at what you LOVE to do and what you were BORN to do.


I want you to win.


I don’t want you to live the dichotomy.


Stop complaining, start working, and taking responsibility for your own happiness.











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Get Paid As An Artist feature MEME

How do you get paid to live an artist’s life?

Get Paid As An Artist Tim Ferris RESIZED


Artists ask me this question all the time. The answer is there are endless ways to get paid for your art.


Most artists don’t see the answers or fail to ask the right questions because they are imprisoned by the limiting beliefs that we ALL struggle with.


I was GREATLY inspired by THIS PODCAST where Seth Godin was answering questions during a Tim Ferris interview.


Every person on this planet suffers from their own limiting beliefs in some way.


Get Paid As An Artist Chain Suffer MEME

Artists are DEFINITELY included in this lot.




Most are not self-aware of their limiting beliefs and suffer greatly throughout their crappy life.


Some are marginally self-aware and work a little to overcome these limiting beliefs and suffer less.


The people we admire most in society, you know, the ones who don’t seem to be hindered by any mental blocks or speed bumps, yeah, they suffer too but they interpret it differently.


That’s the secret.

Get Paid As An Artist Fear

People like Seth Godin, your favorite artists, world leaders, astounding family members, etc. STILL HAVE LIMITING BELIEFS and they battle with them every day.


The difference is the successful run toward the fear and engage it.


Most people avoid the fear.


It’s easier isn’t it?


It’s easier to make the fear become an excuse or deterrent to taking a risk and putting yourself out there.


Here’s the deal, I promise, on some level, we all tend to focus on the winner’s amazing success and forget (or never think about) the fact that they struggle too.


Just like you, they struggle every day.


Get Paid As An Artist Suffer SillhouetteHere’s what happens.


We all LIKE being competent.


We all LIKE being successful.


We all LIKE feeling important and most of us want to feel like we can help others.



However, when something threatens to undo all of these things, it’s easier to avoid it.


When we run away from the fear, a sour mindset enters.



            “We are not getting what we deserve.”

            “The world is not fair”

            “Why should I even bother? It’s probably not going to work”

            “That artist had all this money and knew all those people and I don’t; so I can’t do that.”


Sound familiar?Get Paid As An Artist Sour Mindset


When this sour mindset takes over our psyche, we find ourselves keeping track of the wrong things like:


  • How many times we’ve been rejected
  • How many times it didn’t work
  • All the times someone has broken our heart
  • All the times someone has double-crossed us or let us down


Why keep track of them?


Get Paid As An Artist Why It Won't Work


Are they making us better?





Wouldn’t it make more sense to keep track of all the other stuff?

  • All the times it WORKED
  • All the times we TOOK A RISK
  • All the times we were able write a song that moved somebody
  • All the times our performance had an impact on an audience
  • All the times we reached somebody through our marketing


We can actually redefine ourselves as someone who can make a difference, someone who can IMPACT other people’s lives.


THIS is what artists are supposed to be!Get Paid As An Artist All The Things That Worked


THIS is what artists are supposed to do!


This is truly an energy and skill that most artists possess in some way.


Here is the trick.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s easier said than done but so was the 4-minute mile for thousands of years before someone broke it and then it was absolutely doable for many within months of the record being broken.


You want to be an artist, right?


You want to be original, right?


You want to be a pioneer, right?


Get Paid As An Artist Narrative Choice


It’s all about the narrative.


The narrative is up to you.






If it’s not working (and you KNOW if it’s not working so cut the crap and face the facts!) then why use it?


The narrative isn’t done to you.


The narrative is something you CHOOSE.


Get Paid As An Artist NightmareI have a very dear, very close friend of mine who is now having to deal with the reality of Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder brought on by a nasty 2-year relationship that was emotionally and physically abusive to her.


Nobody should have to go through with this.


It’s not fair.


It’s like some asshole met her, charmed her, and then backed up a massive dump truck full of demons and dropped them on her head without her knowing it ever happened.

Get Paid As An Artist Virus

Maybe it wasn’t a dump truck, that’s too obvious, it was more like an evil Trojan horse with a brain and spirit virus that totally short-circuited her personality, her life experience, the narrative of her life.




Her narrative changed dramatically.


When her narrative changed, so did her life. So did her whole “game”.


She used to roll through life, taking ‘em as they come, now all of a sudden, the subtlest of situations has a bone chilling impact on her.


She reacts in a super negative way.


It’s not fair, but now she has to do a boatload of work on herself to change her narrative.


If we dig deeper, into a different narrative, we change the game.

Get Paid As An Artist Hacked


We can change our game.


We can for the first time, or once again (as in the case of my friend) create abundance, momentum, and happiness in our lives and careers.


It’s all about your perspective and how you interpret what happens.


Those real successful artists that you loved have applied different interpretations to their lives.


Some people are afraid.


Get Paid As An Artist Beautiful or Scary?


Afraid to try, afraid to be vulnerable, afraid to fail, afraid of looking bad, afraid of getting hurt, afraid to really be an artist which is to say they’re afraid to live.




The successful people realize that you must engage fear. You must meet it head on despite the horrific events of your past.


In fact, the more horrific your past, THE MORE YOU MUST ENGAGE THE FEAR!


You know who acted this statement out in living color? Even if you hate sports, you have to admire Brett Favre, former Super Bowl winning QB of the Green Bay Packers.


He was just inducted into the Hall Of Fame this past Saturday.


Defenses in football LOVE to get to the quarterback and HIT HIM as hard as they can but they were largely scared to hit Brett Favre.

Get Paid As An Artist Brett Favre




It was dangerous because he would always control the narrative.




If you hit him, if you planted him in the ground so hard that time stood still, you made the stadium gasp, the coaches cringe, and his teammates scared, it was all over.


For YOU.


He would change the narrative IMMEDIATELY, which changed the momentum, which changed the game. It’s almost like it wasn’t fair.


No matter how much he was really hurting, he would get back up, no, he would POP back up in the face of fear and grab the face-mask of the guy who hit him and start jack-jawing him.


Get Paid As An Artist Angry Cat Failure MEME

“That’s all you got boy?” “That’s ALL you can do? That didn’t even hurt!”


I swear he still couldn’t even see straight half the time but he did it. Mostly for himself.


He would EXPLODE back up in the face of fear and confront it head on.


The result of this action was MOMENTUM.

Get Paid As An Artist No Fear


His teammates, who were for a second scared, were now shaking with adrenalin, reignited, and ready to DOMINATE!


The opposing team, who for a second were triumphant, now had to deal with the reality of awakening a giant.


Get it?


How do you interpret your failures?


If you’re interpreting them incorrectly, I promise you it’s the difference between a success and failure.


Get Paid As An Artist Master Has Failed Quote



It’s the difference between a happy life and a dark life spent regretting.


Simply put, the master has FAILED more times than the beginner has even TRIED.





The only thing you should truly fear is living a crappy life.







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Music Manager Feature 2

The answer to “how to find a music manager” or “how to find a producer” is easy.Music Manager We are Here


I’m going to answer it, but first we need to dig a little into what makes you tick, ok?

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” — Steve Jobs


Music Manager Steve Jobs Photo credit Kremlin DOT ru

Photo Credit: Kremlin.ru


I want you to ask yourself this question for the next 7 days. If you answer “No” for too many days, then you need to CHANGE something immediately.


Follow me here.






Remember my article talking about the quote (inaccurately attributed to Darwin) that stated, “It is not the strongest of a species that survives, it is not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”Music Manager Darwin Strongest Quote


If you’re stuck you have to change something.


If you’re broke you have to change something.


If you’re broken…you have to change something.


Music Manager Broken


Too many of you right now are defaulting to the damage causing software loop in your heads, “I’ve gotta do this before I do that.”

“I need more money, then I can do this.”

“I just have to perfect this thing before I can be serious about that thing.”

“I just need a music manager or a good music producer to be successful in my career.”

“If I could just meet that one huge record label executive, she would hear my music and love it! Once I get my deal I’m going to get paid.”



Music Manager Waiting



All these statements translate into this: “Here’s my excuse why I can’t do it or why I’m waiting to do it.”




Here’s a quote that actually is from Darwin.

“We stopped looking for monsters under our bed when we realized they were inside of us.” – Charles Darwin


Ooooh, read that one again and let it sink in.

“We stopped looking for monsters under our bed when we realized they were inside of us.” – Charles Darwin


Music Manager Joker Meme We stopped


That’s right. You’re the monster!


All these obstacles are in your head, man.



The catch 22 is this: You think your career will launch with good industry pros and industry pros want to see a career that’s already launched.


Once you truly realize that and change your outlook from “here’s what I need to get ahead” to “How can I help you get ahead?” your world will change.


Here’s another real strong Darwin quote.


“It is always advisable that we perceive clearly our ignorance.” – Charles Darwin


You have to know that you don’t know. You have to admit that you don’t know, develop a thirst for the truth, and then focus on a plan to do something about it.Music Manager Questions


You’re not asking enough questions, man, and you’re probably asking the wrong questions.


When you find yourself in the right “lane”, and you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, for real, it’s literally breathtaking how quickly the tables turn. The amount of supremely positive energy you attract into your life will be overwhelming.

Music Manager Energy your way


You will always question it because it’s so ABUNDANT.


You’ll always be thinking, do I deserve this? Is this for real? And the answer is a resounding YES!





It won’t happen until you make a change though.


It won’t happen until you jump.


Those monsters inside your head got you scared to jump.


  • They’re telling you you’re not ready.Music Manager monsters
  • They’re telling you your parents were right and music was a stupid career choice.
  • They’re telling you to focus on Plan B…to be safe.
  • They’re telling you to deal with this pain tomorrow so have another drink today.
  • They’re telling you good things will happen to those who wait.


Your monsters are correct in that good things do come to those who wait, but only that which is left behind by those who hustle.

Music Manager Those who wait





So if table scraps is your idea of paradise, keep listening to the monsters.




How do you find a manager?

How do you find a killer booking agent?

How do you get a big time producer?


The first part of the answer is you’re going to have to pay.


Music Manager Dodge Dart

This is NOT a Ferrari.


If the cost is too high, then you don’t want it enough. Which is ok. I’m not judging. Just accept the reality and don’t cry over the outcome.


Crying over an outcome you haven’t worked to achieve would be as silly as paying a few hundred bucks for a rusted out 1967 baby blue Dodge Dart and bitching that it doesn’t look, sound, feel, and perform like a Ferrari. You didn’t pay for a Ferrari!



You’re going to have to pay with your time, which many of you are not willing to give, at least not enough.


When I was an artist, my band practiced 4-7 hours a day. No joke. We all had part-time jobs and every other minute outside of that stupid phone sales room was devoted to band rehearsal by all members.


Music Manager TIME


If you’re thinking, my band will never commit to that, get a new band. I went through tons of band members in lil’ old Delavan, Wisconsin before I assembled the lineup that would gain the serious traction.




If they don’t want it enough, find somebody who does.


Maybe they do want it enough and they just need to be checked into the glass. Help them reevaluate their priorities.


If you’re thinking but these band members are my friends and I don’t want to hurt their feelings, get over it. They’ll be OK. You clearly want it more than they do.


Music Manager Beehive

Truth is, each of you will be happier surrounded by people with the same goals. Life is good when you’re in the right beehive.


This is show-business, not show-friends.


If you’re thinking I don’t have time for that, then you’re right. Which is fine. But you have to stop stressing over a lack of momentum. Music is not a profession for somebody with little or no time to devote to it; it’s a hobby. You enjoy making music, so enjoy it. But let’s call a spade a spade and set clear realistic expectations.


Music Manager Hobby



Btw, every awesome job comes with crappy paperwork that nobody likes to do but has to be done. I hate accounting but I have to do it for Daredevil.




Your crappy paperwork is probably manifesting itself in the form of music marketing. Decidedly different animal than making music but mission critical if you plan on being a professional.


You also have to pay with money.


You’ll have to either pay someone to help you create solid recordings, good images, PR, social media, videos, promotion, etc. OR you’ll have to pay someone to teach you how to do it for yourself.Music Manager Paperwork


You’re not going to magically absorb this knowledge from the Universe simply because you wish it to be that way and you were born to be an artist.



You’re going to have to get off your ass and get in proximity with a mentor of some kind. The least expensive method to benefiting from a mentor is a webinar, a consultation, or a book!



If you’re thinking I don’t have money for that right now, I got bills, you’re right again! You’re spending your money on the things that matter to you the most. If your career isn’t one of these things, then you have no money for it. Therefore music is a hobby right now, not a profession.

Music Manager poor



I’m constantly listening to podcasts, reading books, watching webinars to learn about music marketing online.




What am I studying?


Social Media marketing, online marketing, consumer psychology, purchasing psychology, story branding, sales copy, Latent Semantic Indexing (I know I’m a total geek), music industry trade mags, ecommerce technology, and more.


Books are the most AMAZING deals, man. Direct proximity with the best minds the world has to offer for around $15; the cost of an expensive cocktail.

Music Manager Books



Why do I spend money and time on these books?




Because nothing is more important to me than cracking the code to helping my artists find their audience, connect with them, and create cash flow from them.



Once I’ve mastered this, I’ll be able to mathematically predict cash flow. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Moneyball”, that’s the ticket. Daredevil Production is architecting “Moneyball” for the music business.

Music Manager Moneyball


If you’re pissed right now, I’m not trying to trick you.


The question: How do I find a music manager?


The answer: You don’t find them, they’ll find YOU.





Music Manager Alone


You don’t sit around wondering, wishing, hoping, that you’ll meet the right person who will agree to go to work your day job for you so you can collect the paycheck and focus on music, do you?




That’s a job you have to do on your own.


You don’t sit around day dreaming about the day you find the right person to wipe your butt after your done taking a crap either, do you?




This is yet another job that you deeply understand is for you alone.


You think these questions were silly because they were.


You KNOW that you don’t get paid unless you get your butt to work.

Music Manager Hide


You KNOW your butt won’t get wiped unless you do it yourself.


Whether you want to believe or not, whether you understand it or not,



The music business is no different.


You won’t find an audience and make great music unless you do it yourself. All the people you seek will make your existing audience (business) bigger. They won’t find them for you.

music manager sheep


Put in the time. Put in as much money as you can (intelligently) and become an undeniable force of business.


All the managers, booking agents, and producers will come out of the woodwork once you prove to the Universe that you’ve taken ownership of your own career.


They’ll flock to you, I PROMISE.


Until then, you’re just another wannabe who naively believes that you need them to make you.


They won’t.

You don’t.






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Talent Scott Weiland Feature 2 MEME

On December 3rd, of this year, we lost Scott Weiland. We remember our favorite STP songs and Velvet Revolver songs (the “Fall to Pieces” video has now moved from behind the scenes rock-star-chic to disturbing and heartbreakingly downright pathetic). We relish our favorite memories ofTalent Scott the glory, the tours, but none of us see the reality. The work, the pain, the struggle, the compromise, the effort, the dedication, and the compulsion that define the drive necessary for success.





I read THIS ROLLING STONE ESSAY written by Scott’s ex-wife Mary Forsberg Weiland and his 2 teenage children Noah 15, and Lucy 13. The takeaway to this article was the bone chilling last 2 sentences of the first paragraph.


But the truth is, like so many other kids [of addictive parents], they lost their father years ago. What they truly lost on December 3rd was hope.




This cut me to the bone. I seriously teared up. Not because of the loss of Scott as a person and his artistry (which is horrifying), but because I was thinking of his children and ex-wife.


What a waste.Talent Do The Work


Scott couldn’t or wouldn’t do the work on himself. He clearly had to outwork all other front men artistically with his bands to get to the heights he achieved, but he failed to turn that drive and that perseverance inward to improve himself.


Heroin, crack, cocaine, and alcohol were not what killed Scott Weiland, they were just the weapons that were used. It was the hole he was trying so desperately to fill with these drugs that ultimately became his demise.




Talent HolesWhen addicts are trying to fill holes and partying “for the wrong reasons” they often bounce to new addictions after kicking the old ones. Heroin, cocaine, prescription pills, alcohol, sex addiction, and codependent relationships are the common interchangeable lily pads they land on.




So if kicking a drug like heroin doesn’t stop addiction, then heroin isn’t the problem, is it? The question is “Why are they behaving in this manner?” not “What poison should we eliminate?”.Talent LIly Pad MEME






The solution is eliminating the demons, not so much the drugs.

Talent NO Demons


The hole can be filled if the owner is willing to endure and go through the struggle it takes to fill it. It’s never easy, no matter how heavy or light the demons are that reside in said hole. Hell, I went through therapy for a spell to change some things I didn’t like about myself. It’s frustrating, aggravating, annoying, and scary. It makes you feel introspectively defensive and spotlights the deep inner conflicts you have going on every day.

It’s also worth it.



Nikki Sixx has done this and come out the other side a better man for the effort.

Eric Clapton did it.Talent Addict Collage

Stevie Ray Vaughan did it too, and then died in a helicopter crash.



You have to do the work.


There is just no way around it.

Talent Do The Work


Much like weight loss. I’m feeling a little heavy these days. There is no pill or shake that is going to magically change my weight. Changing my diet and increasing my exercise is the plain and simple, tried and true answer.


You have to do the work.




We only see the fame, the glory, we never see the struggle. It’s hard to conceptualize and relate to the work if all you see is the end result.


You HAVE to make yourself aware of this.


This makes me worry about the artist community that read my articles. I worry because so many of you are completely missing the point.

Talent Love me MEME


You want the success without the struggle. It’s really understandable to a degree because the press never shows us the struggle; only the glory.

Too many of you are falsely betting on your talent to make you successful.


You’ve heard how “talented” you are your whole life so you justifiably surmise, “that’s the ticket”. If your parents, friends, and local fans see it, why not the bigwigs in the music industry?


I got news for you, your success won’t be about your talent. Not one bit.




Talent Totem Pole MEME


 You see talent is just a way we categorize the successful.






There’s a talent totem pole of success that we subconsciously use to rank the artists we’re aware of. Somebody has to be John, somebody has to be Paul, somebody has to be George, and somebody has got to be Ringo.Talent Totem Pole FINAL MEME


Sure there are hugely successful less-talented artists, there are mildly successful supremely talented artists, and a ton of able bodies in between.


There are also a million unknown, super talented phenoms that we will never hear about because, for whatever reason, they either can’t or choose not to make it out of the basement.


I personally know the most AMAZING singer. Her vocal control and tone blows away Whitney, Mariah, and seriously rivals Adele’s.


Not kidding.


Her talent got her a major label deal back in the 90’s. Guaranteed 2 record deal.


She worked with the BEST producers and the best teams in the industry.


She was invited by Quincy Jones to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival. (That’s a BIG DEAL, man.)


She’s not an addict, but the way she handles her intelligence, strategy, and business ensured that you’ll never know about her.


Total bust for the record label.


Talent Quote Meme


So once again, your level of financial success or fame has nothing to do with your talent.


Talent just gets you noticed.


Success comes because of intelligence, strategy, hard work, and perseverance.


Once you’re successful, it’s especially awesome to the fans (and the industry) when you’re also super talented. Your success and far reach means your talent will get to touch more people.

But making a living at your passion, what I would define as success, has nothing to do with talent.


I hear so many of you tell me that you just need that one important industry person to “believe in you”. Once that ship comes in, it’s all puppy dogs and ice cream. You’ll get PAID. You’ll be FAMOUS.


Horse hockey.Talent Horse Poop License David MW


Here’s another factual smart-bomb. I think every top Producer, A&R exec, Label President, Booking Agent, Manager, and industry professional would agree, we don’t need to believe in your talent because your talent will be obvious.


When we talk about “believing in an artist” as industry pros, we are talking about all the other disciplines that a talented artist needs to succeed.

Talent Struggle


We wouldn’t be talking about you if you weren’t talented.


There have been so many labels that got burned by not looking more closely at this dynamic.


Y’all probably never heard of Mother Love Bone. They were the band that blended the 80’s metal glam with 90’s grunge and really ushered in the Seattle scene. Kurt Cobain and the boys from Nirvana considered them heroes. They OWNED the Seattle scene and with Soundgarden, they paved the way for all the big Seattle names we know and love in the grunge scene to get their shot and become successful.Talent MLB Poster 2


Mother Love Bone was important, man.


The band was comprised of front man and dreamy lyricist Andrew Wood backed in part by Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard who would eventually become Pearl Jam.


Andrew Wood overdosed on heroin days before the March 1990 release of the first major label LP Apple was released.


Talent Sublime Image


Bradly Nowell was the front man and main writer for the infamous Southern California underground band, Sublime. He overdosed on heroin 2 months before the release of their debut major label release on MCA Records.


These 2 stories are just the tippy top of the iceberg and more well known. What you don’t know, and should understand, is that there are literally hundreds of thousands of stories where industry people wanted to “believe” in an artist and got totally burned because the artist didn’t have the disciplines, outside of their amazing talent, to follow through.


I remember Tom Zutaut (A&R exec who signed Guns & Roses and Mötley Crüe) being asked if there was ever a band that he was jealous he didn’t get to sign. His answer was something like, “No, but I had a band I really wanted to sign badly and was glad I didn’t get to.”

Talent Tom Zutaut

That band was Mother Love Bone.


Too many of you want someone to bet their money and more scarce, their precious time on YOU because of your talent.


When you realize that success is about follow through, intelligence, perseverance, and good business, you’ll start to look for ways to showcase that along with your obvious artistic abilities.


Y’all know someone or know someone who knows someone that is supremely talented in anything (not just music) but doesn’t have it together.


God, I just want y’all to WIN and I want y’all to be healthy doing it!


Do the work


Do the work on yourself:  Attack those demons. WE ALL HAVE THEM. Generally speaking the more successful people in life learn what they want to change (because we’re all broken) and then take active steps to change it.Talent Therapy


I was once told by my manager that therapy should be mandatory like a driver’s license. It’s like college but for your mind. Just for you. You’ll be AMAZED by what you learn.





Do the work on your artistry: Constantly be improving.


Do the work on your marketing: The internet means the world is your oyster and you no longer need to wait around to find your audience. They’re out there. Find them. LEARN to market.

Talent Learn Marketing MEME


These are the traits that make a talented artist sexy to the industry and to big money.


We want you to prove you can work and work with an immeasurable consistency.



If we’re talking to you, we already know you’re talented.


So if you’re good enough to have relationships with industry people, and you’re not getting the love that you want, your talent isn’t the problem.

Talent Superman


Could it possibly be your work ethic, the pain you’re willing to endure, the struggle you’re willing to tolerate, the compromises you’re willing to make, the effort you’re putting forth, the dedication you’ve shown, and your compulsion that defines the drive necessary for success?





Maybe it’s the work outside of your talent, or lack thereof that is making you unattractive and therefore hindering the success you seek?







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Path Adamant or Ignorant Feature

We humans are super stubborn especially when it comes to certain paths we take, we’re truly wired up that way.Path Donkey


You’ve heard the expression “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, right?




Think about this for a second:



Path Democrat Republican


We’re adamant about being a Democrat or Republican.


We’re adamant about being a vegan or a meat eater.

Path Chevrolet Ford


We’re obstinate about Ford vs. Chevrolet


Some of us have deep loyalties about Fender vs Gibson.


Path Fender vs Gibson


We’re adamant about the manner in which we handle our relationships (most if not all of us need consistent improvement on that, present company INCLUDED).

Quite often we are unwavering on these ideals and we don’t even know why. We don’t have an opinion that is based on any kind of facts or accurate information, we just do what our parents did.


We follow the crowd we hang out with.

Path Lincoln Quote


We staunchly support an ideal and we have done exactly ZERO research for ourselves.


I saw it on Facebook, so it must be true.



WAY too many artists are adamant about the path they are taking to climb the ladder of success in their careers.

Path No Excuses


They’re understandably resolute in their approach because they’ve experienced and seen the manner in which all their favorite, life-changing, iconic artists have come into their awareness.

But, when does adamant turn into ignorance?


It’s GOOD to be inflexible with regards to achieving your goals. This creates perseverance. When I was an artist there was no musician, girl, business deal, booking agent, tragedy, manager, label suit, sickness, injury, or excuse that I would give permission to stand in my way. No plan B. Only forward motion.


If you’re stubborn about achieving the goal, that’s awesome. If you’re unyielding on the path you’ve chosen to get there, you’re ignorant.


The path constantly changes in real life.

Path Don Henley Quote MEME

The path gets refined as you become more aware of what is really going on.


Many of you think you’re determined to succeed but really, as Don Henley says, “That’s just some people talking”.

Too many of you are blissfully clueless when it comes to any kind of discernible business plan to bring your amazing music to market.




Sadly, most of you that have any semblance of a process or business plan to expand the awareness of your music in a market are working with outdated and inaccurate information.

Path blind


You’re refusing to recognize this fact.


You’re sticking to your current path.

How’s that working for you?


What metrics are you using to measure your forward progress?


Did you sell more CD’s this year than last year?


Are you selling more tickets this year as opposed to 2014?Path Measure it Manage It Ruler

If you can measure it, you can manage it.


Do you have a reasonable, credible plan in place for 2016?


How is your song going to become my jam?


My father says that journeys like life or a business plan are living, breathing, entities in constant need of cultivation and reevaluation.  John Sr. says a journey is similar to the flight path of a butterfly in that it’s never in a straight line.


Path Butterfly


The butterfly that embarks on a voyage across a field of flowers will fly here, then fly there, fly forward, then backward, zigzagging, advancing and retreating until finally it reaches the other side.


A butterfly is never steadfast about the path. Untiring towards the goal, but open for suggestion and often unwillingly relocated by the winds of change along the way.



I’ve mentioned this in past blogs, but a great example of this was an experiment done in the 1940’s designed to gather information on what makes a person really lucky or really unlucky.

Path Lucky

The results were astounding.


Generally speaking, unlucky people are firmly entrenched in their pathway, blind to any outside anomalies or fluctuations happening around them.



Lucky people were more prone to take it all in, pay attention to everything, and learn.


Open for suggestion.


The experiment asked people to respond to a newspaper ad requesting people reply if they felt they were generally lucky or generally unlucky. The respondents would be paid handsomely.


In the experiment, the whole group was given a newspaper and asked to count the number of images that were printed in the paper. They were instructed to hand in their answers once they finished and they would be paid $250 (again, this was in the 1940’s, I think, so that was big money).

The people who felt they were generally unlucky took an average of 2 minutes to complete the task.


The people who were generally lucky took an average of 15 seconds.


What was the reason for the disparity in the length of time required to complete the task?


Path More Than Good Music Meme


In the newspaper, on page 2, was a black and white ad in huge block letters that read, “THERE ARE 48 IMAGES IN THIS NEWSPAPER, THERE IS NO NEED TO KEEP COUNTING. PLEASE WRITE THIS DOWN, HAND YOUR PAPER INTO THE INSTRUCTOR AND COLLECT YOUR $250 CHECK.”


See my point?

The people that were ignorantly resolute on the guidelines (A.K.A. the path) continued to count all the images never seeing the ad with the answer because it wasn’t an image.



The answer wasn’t what they were looking for, rather, they were looking for images. Opportunities don’t always come looking like what you’d thought they should.


Get it?

What’s your plan of attack to make a living at your artistry?


While I’m quite sure you’re determined to never quit until you reach your goal, how resolute are you to the tactics you’re using to get there?


Don’t be a moron.

Don’t be naïve.

Plain and simple.

Path Consumers Like You MEME


Don’t mistake technologies that offer new ways for artists to connect with fans as the grand solution that will save the failing music industry and thus, your lot in life.

Consumers need reasons to like and stand behind an artist, not a new technological platform. When they have the reason, believe me the platform will not matter, they will find what they want.


How are all these artist platforms working for you?


Are they getting you paid?

Do you know anybody that knows anybody who BROKE on Pandora, Spotify, Bandzoogle, Reverbnation, iTunes, etc.?


If you’re #1 in Kalamazoo for alternative country on Reverbnation how does that translate with regards to your bank account?


Now you may say, “Johnny, we make art for the sake of art so the sales don’t matter, the recognition is what matters.”


Path Blue Ribbon MemeWell, somehow, at this moment, you’re paying your bills with something.


Where did those funds come from?


What if your current bosses decided to stop paying you in exchange for blue ribbon each pay period?




Can you imagine?


What would you do if this happened?



You’d have to, wouldn’t you?


My point is that somehow, some way, you found out how to get paid for a job that you’d probably rather not do if you don’t straight up hate it.


Why on earth wouldn’t you want to find a way to get paid to be an artist?


Path StruggleIf you’re struggling that means you aren’t getting paid or you aren’t getting paid enough to survive.

If you’re just getting paid with some BS form of technological praise, I submit to you that the praise you receive PLUS $2.52 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.


Change your path.


Change it often.


It took Edison an average of 1,000 experiments to obtain the successes he needed for EACH of his 2,332 patents.


Path Edison MEME




How may experiments have you tried to get paid for your music?



My guess is the first one, perhaps the only one, the one you’re on now, isn’t working well enough.









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Bob Ezrin Suck it 2

I was reading a Bob Lefsetz post about a letter written to him from famed producer Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper, Kiss, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd). READ THIS LETTER right now, it’s quick. In this letter Bob was nostalgic of the old music business and basically excoriating most of the new artists. While I can completely see Bob Ezrin’s point, I categorically disagree that the good music is gone for good.

Great, meaningful music is not gone for good, it’s just dormant.Bob Ezrin Cyclical

At least it is in the mainstream marketplace at the moment.

The integrity of music is cyclical like everything else.

We are in the middle of a rebirth.



Bob Ezrin Pink Floyd The Wall


It’s never been a better time for artists worldwide.


Artists have NEVER experienced such few roadblocks standing between their work and an audience.



At least not from outside forces anyway, artists still excel at creating their own roadblocks.




Every artist has all the power, access, and affordable tools necessary to make their masterpiece and market it to the world.

So why aren’t we?Bob Ezrin Tools

Why are major players like Bob Ezrin so jaded about the new music business?

Because it’s not like the old music business.

It’s changed and everybody hates change.

Let’s look at the old industry for a second, shall we?

In the old music industry making records was quite expensive. A professional project required an artist to:

  • Pay for major recording studio access (lockout fees $1,500-$2,500 per day)
  • Pay for outboard gear not onboard the recording console ($500-$2500 day)
  • Pay for an experienced engineer ($120/hour in 2015 dollars)
  • Pay for a producer ($25k/song + 5 points)
  • Pay for 10-20 reels of 2” tape ($3,000 – $6,000 depending on the project)
  • Pay for 10 (ish) reels of ½” tape to record stereo mixes ($1,500)
  • Pay for mastering which would run $600 – $1,200 per song



Bob Ezrin Engineer


It becomes really easy to rack up $200,000 or more even on a project with a good band that can be recorded and mixed in a couple weeks ala Van Halen or The Black Crowes let alone a “tinkering artist” who needs time to create the masterpiece.





Then there’s the marketing costs…

  • $250k – $500k per song for radio promo (payola never died folks, it just got renamed and restructured to legally protect the broadcast licenses and cash flow, you know, like a side-street-shell-game)Bob Ezrin Payola
  • Tour support – The bus, bus drivers, roadies, gas, hotels, airfare, meals, and booze costs a boatload.
  • Radio Tour – Again, gas, hotels, airfare, meals, etc.


Then there was legal fees, manufacturing fees, and shipping costs for distribution, etc.


So the old music business required $1.5 million – $2.5 million dollars to create, manufacture, distribute, and promote the first record on a major label.



Bob Ezrin Euros


Even an independent label with 20% of the major label budget meant exorbitant cash requirements that were far too great for any unsigned artists to afford alone.

So serious capital was required to take the risk of developing an artist that had a 90% chance of failure in the major label system during the “hey day” of the old music business.



Taking risks means there was a carefully guarded selection process loaded with many filters (AKA roadblocks).

It used to be hard to get in the door for a reason.

Let’s go back farther and look at the beginning of the cycle.Bob Ezrin Atlantic Records


Back in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s the major labels were independents created by visionaries which is fancy talk for diehard musicians and music aficionados that had a business sense and some discretionary cash flow.


These visionaries made relationships with artists and other business people to foster the creation of compelling art, market it, and ultimately profit from it.

Bob Ezrin A&M

It all started with passion.

Passion from the artists and the visionaries.



The Ahmet Erteguns, Herb Alperts, and Mo Ostins had passion for art and a wicked good business acumen.Bob Ezrin Reprise Records



For what it’s worth to all you frustrated indie artists, these great music men were not devoid of mistakes with their marketing. Ahmet Ertegun’s first 22 singles were bombs so you really should stop lamenting the first couple marketing speed bumps that make you feel like a failure and start concentrating on the future wins.



Bob Ezrin Sometime You Win SMALL

There is no failure, you either win or you learn.


Just sayin’.



Then, after their company success morphed them into brand names that were associated with important, captivating music and significant artist brand names, they were purchased by big, publicly traded companies.

Publicly traded companies have to make a profit. They live by the quarterly report which means numbers become the focus instead of music.


It’s a natural progression really.Bob Ezrin No Music


It’s understandable.

For decades we have promoted music via terrestrial radio. It makes sense that people think terrestrial radio is about music because that’s where we were all exposed to our favorite artists growing up, right?


Sadly, terrestrial radio doesn’t care about the music either. Hell, it used to showcase dramatic and comedic programs in the 40’s, then TV was invented and the new medium stole the content so music was the next plausible programming solution.

Bob Ezrin Radio


Terrestrial radio cares about selling ads. They are ad salesmen, plain and simple.


So when you combine a publicly traded company that lives & dies by the numbers on a quarterly report with a group of ad salesmen, nobody cares about the music anymore.



When nobody cares about the music, the music becomes sterile; it becomes an afterthought. The music doesn’t mean anything to anyone in a position of power other than product data or sales quotas.


What matters is can it be promoted?Bob Ezrin The Truth About Milk

To promote it you need to make the ad salesmen happy.


The best way to make the ad salesmen happy is to ensure it sounds and looks like what is already being successfully promoted because, today, that’s selling their ads.

Get it?

It’s clear what happened to the music and why.


This is how we “lost us” as Bob Ezrin so eloquently put it.


He’s right, ya know.

Bob Ezrin I'm Not Cynical


Bob was right on time with his analysis but it is definitely from a mainstream perspective. It’s not necessarily accurate, even beyond Ezrin’s disclaimer regarding the inevitable “exceptions to the rule”. In my humble opinion, it’s also a bit cynical and short sighted.


But I get it, I understand his frustration.




You see, there is a perfect storm of sorts going on right now in the music business.

Everyone can afford a recording studio when they couldn’t 25 years ago.Bob Ezrin Monkey

That means everyone can make records. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should, but everyone can make records nonetheless.

And record they do. Rather, they completely manufacture performances because they can. In this instance we have the “artists” contributing to the degradation of the art.


This is due to a DIY environment bereft of mentors and any record making experience (don’t be naïve, recording music and making records are 2 completely different processes), mixed with the natural human nature to follow the path of least resistance.


Bob Ezrin Batman



Back in the day you had to keep singing or playing until you nailed the performance, no fixes. There was a mentor/elder you respected there to tell you, “Do it again”. Now, we’re all alone and in a hurry to just get it done because we want to bask in our own glory and awesome artistry.


Or worse, we want to get the product out ASAFP.

It’s also about 15 minutes of fame instead of real connecting for so many of today’s misguided artists.


In 1968, Andy Warhol correctly predicted, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”.Bob Ezrin Andy Warhol


I am predicting that in the future, 15 minutes of fame will become easy and therefore sterile like the music of today.

This need for fame will become blasé and boring.


Artists will begin to be noticed for excellence in their artistic works and performances.


This will create followers who strive to be excellent for the purposes of being noticed (they’re all still artists right?)

Audiences will respond to artists who are different and meaningful as long as they’re properly exposed to them.

Bob Ezrin Music = Lif


I submit to you the real artists, the important artists, they’re out there, man.

There are tons of artists that are making music with meaning, Bob Ezrin. There are artists that are fighting for their freedom, from oppression, from abuse, from fear, from their past, from society, from the rat-race, and from this business.

You just haven’t heard about them yet because the marketing machine is broken, or getting an overhaul at the very least.



You will.


You see the more crap that goes up on the world’s refrigerator, the more mundane and homogenized everything sounds.Bob Ezrin Fridge Magnets


The more mundane and homogenized the music sounds, the more the important artists stick out like a sore thumb with even a modicum of marketing expertise.

Consumers do respond to real performances, and real artists even if they can’t articulate why.


That will never change.


These important artists have more access than ever before to make, manufacture, and promote their art.

Bob Ezrin Rebirth


They have an incredible amount of direct access to an easily targeted marketplace and it’s inexpensive to reach.


Like I said, it’s a rebirth.




With all this accessibility, the storytellers get to define their tribe, connect, and tell their story free from corporate intervention.



That means free from sterility as long as the artists want it that way.Bob Ezrin Story Tellers

The real artists get to emote their truth and the market will respond just like it always has because the market can and will relate to the real artists; “He’s singing about me. She’s telling my story.”

It’s back to being about the music Bob Ezrin.

Because we can.

It’s time for the artists to learn that they need to define and connect with their audience to bring their work to the world.

Bob Ezrin Learn To Live Meme


Artists need to learn to market these great works and prove Bob Ezrin wrong.


He may be a genius but He’s also old and crusty so don’t pay any attention to him.





Keep working y’all.


10 years from now the music will be better.


I promise.







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 They say that one really can’t be successful until they get their mind, body, and spirit “in tune”.

in tune mind body spirit triangle

What does that mean exactly?

If an instrument is not in tune it is displeasing to the ear. Hell, it evokes hostility in Kelly and me. It induces uncomfortable feelings of dis-ease and horror, plugging of the ears, tilted heads in an audience, and empty rooms. A listener cannot be attracted to music for too long if there is utter dissonance.file4671348049272

The same is true for your life and your artist career.


Think about that, it’s worth repeating, the SAME is true for your life and your artist career!

You have to learn to get in tune and stay in tune or you become unattractive.

I would have to say that for an artist (because we all crave attention and acceptance) becoming unattractive is probably the single most frightening scenario imaginable.

When one’s life is out of tune, the ripple effects are debilitating and constantly problematic.

Do you feel like this with your career sometimes?

I think “in tune” means several things to an artist.



The Mind



I think that your mind has to really be in tune with your artistry.  Many artists never accomplish this (even though everyone of ‘em thinks they have).

Many artists are vague about exactly where their respective artistic lane is, so they continue emulating a.k.a. being derivative.

Many artists simply won’t and therefore don’t put in the work necessary to discover a unique artistic lane.

It’s a process.

in tune the only way out is throughThe only way out is through.

Many artists are simply too scared or private to dig down that deep and share their truth with a bunch of people they don’t know.


I get this by the way.


Most people, artists or not, are scared to discover their truth; even privately for themselves. This is a natural human reaction and quite frankly the willingness to share and be that exposed to the world is what makes real artists so special to all of us.

Real artists speak to our inner souls by being that uncovered, that raw.

Many artists are not in tune with the business side of music, so while they may be making something incredible, nobody is ever going to hear it which makes it impossible to fulfill a dream of being a professional at any level.

Follow me on this next metaphorical concept.

When I watch Kelly produce a vocal, it’s a work of art.

in tune Kelly and Rachel working on a vocal  I’m astounded.  I’ve learned from Kelly that what makes a killer vocal is not only the attention to big notes that everyone is drawn to (because it’s obvious and easy), rather the attention to the little, quick, passing tones and notes.  When those notes are in tune, and the artist is selling the lyrics that fall on those notes, the vocal soars with confidence.

It’s the difference between a mediocre vocal and a stellar vocal.



Think about that in terms of staying in tune with your whole artist experience.  If you only focus on the obvious stuff and overlook the crap you get bored with easily you are not in tune.


It’s attention to detail.

It’s the difference between a mediocre career and a stellar career.

Many artists are not in tune with the simple desire to constantly improve.in tune work hard stay humble

Some are lazy, and aren’t willing to do the necessary work.

Some are delusional, devoid of humility, and think they’re amazing.

Some are both.

They get ate up with glitz and glitter of their artist daydream and how they feel it should look rather than working on being better and accepting the fact that real life is never like you imagine it will be, artist or not.

If a situation or opportunity presents itself that isn’t consonant with the script in their daydream, it is shunned, ignored, forgotten, left to rot, with no action taken.

This is far too common of an occurrence.


The Spirit

in tune Mind Body Spirit cool logo

I see so many artists that are unfortunately spiritually broken.  Sadly, the uber-sensitive, spiritually-shattered artist is what typically makes compelling art.

But there is the search for your spiritual truth and spiritual peace.

There is an art to getting comfortable in your own skin.

This pursuit requires work as well.in tune LOVE YOURSELF


Work many of us are not willing to do.


There exists a delicate dance between a tortured past which has to be forgiven but never forgotten so one can function at the highest level in life, and the cathartic exercise of reliving the past, to write about it, which helps in processing the pain and hopefully healing.

The Body.



Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it’s in tune.

Just like everyone I fall off my workouts and slowly dip into lethargy like the proverbial frog in the pan where the water is slowly heated up.

Here’s the kicker, every time I get off my ass to get back to the gym I INSTANTLY feel better.

Yes maybe a little sore but my energy level immediately spikes and stays more consistent throughout the day.

I handle good stress better.

I handle bad stress better.

I drink less.

I eat better.

I feel better about the way I look and therefore immediately become more attractive.

That’s what we want right?

in tune law of attraction


To be more attractive?

More attractive to our fans.

More attractive to business prospects.

More attractive to our significant others.


What exactly are you doing to keep your mind in tune with your art?

What exactly are you doing to get your spirit in tune and settle your soul?

What exactly are you doing to get your body in tune?

I want y’all to think about that.


Stay in tune.


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Derivatives Mona Lisa Selfie

I get about 3-8 emails every week where people send me music and ask for advice.  These artists come from many different genres.  I’m generalizing to be sure when I say they mostly suffer from the same issue, they’re derivative.

They’re mostly derivative, right?

Don’t be derivative.

Look, don’t get me wrong, if a derivative artist has a budget we’ll record them, that’s just business.

I’m talking about real art here, though.

I’m talking about future icons.

I’m talking about a way to break through the noise on the market RADAR screen.

Strictly on a business level, if you don’t have a MAJOR financial backer who can capitalize on a market trend, what exactly are you exploiting?

What’s the point?

Sometimes I wonder if it’s laziness.  I wonder that because I certainly suffered through my share of lethargy in my artist years if I’m being honest. Initially my main goal was to be on MTV.  Once I got access to our producer’s “other band”, The Allman Brothers, I realized it didn’t have anything to do with MTV.  I was being lazy.  I needed to dig deeper.  We all have to go through that door at some point.

But I digress.

Derivative anti cliche imageI hear male country artists singing “Bro-Country” about tailgates, tan legs, barbed wire fences and beers in the console.

I hear female country artists singing hostile ex-girlfriend lyrics trying to outdo Carrie Underwood or Miranda Lambert.

I hear endless rap artists who cannot seem to avoid the most obvious lyrical clichés like “bitches”, “ho’s”, and “n****s”, etc.

In the 80’s we all had long hair, ear rings, and leather pants.  In 2014 every hipster has a close cropped haircut and beard the size of Texas with 60’s styled horn rimmed glasses.  (Will that hairdo be remembered as some sort of 2010 version of the 80’s/90’s mullet?)

Every genre has it, man.

Every generation has it.

Every Iconic Artist found themselves at some point

I’m simplifying once again by this statement, but every iconic artist found themselves at some point.  They found their own unique take on a derivative tangent.


C’mon you mean you really can’t tell how badly Petty wants to be Dylan?

Dylan wants to be Woody Guthrie.

Clapton wants to be Muddy Waters, etc.

Realistically the only way to avoid being derivative is to be yourself.  The most interesting artists are telling their own story.

Being Derivative is a timeless artistic problem

Being derivative is a timeless artistic problem deeply rooted in every artist’s beginnings and nurtured by label suits afraid to take a chance in artist careers for fear of a poor quarterly report.  (Don’t hate them, that’s just business.  If you’re smart enough to play the game professionally, you get that.)

Think about it, we all begin as artists imitating our heroes; this is necessary.  It’s the first inspiration. We artists connect strongly with the superstars whose message and image speaks to us.  We relate to them and pay homage, right?

So where then does the imitation stop and the originality begin?

The “me-too” acts with talent, money, savvy, gumption, and connections will probably get their 15 minutes of fame but they will be forgotten.

It’s the originals that we rememberDerivative 100 percent ORIGINAL stamp

It’s the originals that we aspire to be

It’s the originals that become icons

So what is the road map to true artistic innovation?


Work is the one thing most people aren’t willing to do that much of in any industry, unfortunately.

Artists especially avoid this act because unlike a regular job where you are compensated regularly for your effort, the artist must continue to invest time, money, and their spirit into a massively delayed settlement arrangement.

justiceDelayed financial, spiritual, and social reimbursement means you pay it all up front for a chance at evening the scales later on…usually much later on.

So naturally, most artists seek the path of least resistance and fall into an uninspired creative rut; this is human nature.

If you don’t want to spend too much time writing (working), you copy what you hear.

Instant gratification.

We covet what we see every day.

The original artists are constantly creating, always working.  The work provides the necessary steps to uncover the real artist deep down inside.

Every song is a stepping stone towards something greater.

The roots come up to meet the inspirational artistic input and they weave a new, unique fabric.

The work IS the compensation.  It has to be. If an artists doesn’t feel like that then the business model is doomed to fail.

This is who will create real impact.

That’s terrifying to an artist.  It requires removing your mask and being truly exposed.  Most artists who claim to be vulnerable really aren’t; at least they choose not to be in their art.

When you’re not vulnerable in your art, you’re derivative.


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